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Eco-Friendly Materials for Cabinets and Countertops

by Jessica Santina

Eco-friendly or green materials can be a great addition to any kitchen. Not only do they have significantly less negative impact on the planet than other materials, they are great energy savers and may even improve your indoor air quality. Consider using these materials in your cabinetry and countertops to up your green quotient:

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Cabinetry

Wood: Solid wood cabinets are durable and resist moisture very well. And as long as you're careful about its source, wood can be quite eco-friendly. Check that it was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to ensure that it was harvested sustainably and that it was made with formaldehyde-free or low-/no-VOC (volatile organic compound) finishes.

Bamboo: Bamboo is highly renewable, durable, and beautiful. Check that it is FSC-certified to ensure a safe supply chain and that it's free of formaldehydes and VOCs.

Engineered Wood: Often called particle board, these can be green IF--this is a big if--they are produced without formaldehyde and VOCs.

Countertops

While granite and concrete are highly coveted countertop materials in today's kitchens, they are, unfortunately, not very green because of the way they are sourced and they energy they take to produce. Fortunately, there are some great alternatives:

Glass: Glass tiles can be made at least partially from recycled content, and in fact, recycling them takes less energy than making new ones. They're also very versatile, as they come in a wide range of colors and sizes.

Wood or Butcher Block: As is always the case with wood, it depends on where it comes from. If it's FSC-certified and finished without formaldehydes or VOCs, it's very green and very long-lasting.

Paper Composite: Yes, paper. Made of recycled paper and adhesives (non-recyclable), paper composite doesn't burn easily and requires very little maintenance. It's not completely green, but it's closer than some other options.


About the Author

Jessica Santina is a freelance writer and editor with 11 years' experience in media, marketing, and publishing, and 8 years' experience as a college writing instructor.

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